The Big Questions • What is a human? A person? • Who Am I? • Ethics: Good and Evil? • What is happiness? What is the good life? • Aesthetics – What is art? What is beauty? • What is government – What’s the best way to organize society? What is a just society?
What is a Person? • What are the characteristics of a person? What criteria matters? Is there a checklist? • Animals, Robots, Coma patients, Children? • Why does this question matter? • Technological advancement, abortion debate, euthanasia, voting,
Who am I? • What is the concept of the ‘self’ or ‘I’? • Descartes – “I think therefor I am” (cogito ergo sum) – nature/mind/rationalist • Locke – “Mind is a blank slate (tabula rasa) – nurture/senses/empiricist • Plato – three parts of the soul (snowman diagram – Reason (head), Spirit (chest), Appetite/Desire (belly) • Nature vs Nurture • Twin study, genes, epigenetics, psychopaths, heart transplants, media’s influence (Cool Hunters), gender (what is a real man/womyn),
Ethics: What is Good/Evil? • How do we determine what action/who is good or evil? • Nature/Nurture debate • Myths on the origins of good/evil • Ethical Normative Systems (set of ideas/beliefs that help determine what is an ethical action) • Categorical imperative/ Duty Ethcs (Kant) – Can the action be made a universal law? Am I respecting the person(s) as an end in themselves or as a means to an end. • Utilitarian (Bentham/Mill) – greatest good for the greatest number • Pragmatists – look from many perspectives, and continually try to get better based on experience • Divine Command – Whatever the Divine (God/Religion) says is right/wrong (10 Commandments) • Psyhcopath video (elevator), Harvard video (trolley tracks),
What is happiness? What is the good life? • Are there particular characteristics, instructions for happiness or the good life? • Plato/Aristotle – “The Golden Mean” - goldilocks and the three bears – looking for the perfect balance to achieve virtue (excellence). • The more virtuous you are the better your life is... • Meaningful vs Happy life (clip from Heroes)
What is happiness? What is the good life? • Epicurus – Give me pleasure, keep pain away (worry about who you eat with) • Media influence on what we think is happiness/good life • Tuesdays with Morrie • Bucket Lists, experiement getting rid of distractions in our lives (tech, money, homework), • TED talks – is freedom good for happiness,
Aesthetics – What is art? What is beauty? • How can we determine what is art, beautiful? • Hume – “In the eye of the beholder” • Plato – Representation – does it represent truth? • Aristotle – Expressionism – does it express something for the artist or audience? • Kant - Formalism – does the artistic form itself say something? • Art World – do those who are apart of the art world say it is? • Animal art, crotched coral, golden ratio, Fibonacci sequence, the Parthenon, curated art show, Body Worlds, Tilley the Dog, House of Fire/Art World, Human Faces/attractiveness,
What is government – What’s the best way to organize society? What is a just society? • Ideology – a set of beliefs about how the best way to organize/control society. • The story about how humans should be controlled/governed… the story will give an explanation as to who should rule and who should follow and the reasons for it. • Political Spectrum • Different forms of Government